2 Samuel 23:1-24:25 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Ruling in the Fear of God
Comments for Study 11

2 Samuel 23:1-24:25
Memory Verse: 24:24


I. Ruling in the Fear of God (23:1-39)

>1. Who was David?

* 2 Samuel 23:1 "These are the last words of David: "The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs:

* David was the second king of Israel here stated as "the man exalted by the Most High" and "anointed by the God of Jacob". He is the youngest son of Jesse. He was chosen as a young lad by the Lord through the prophet/judge Samuel. He did not become King of Israel until he was thirty years old. Interesting that David was also noted as "Israel's singer of songs".

* "last words" -In the Bible the last words of men of God are considered important.

* David does not describe himself in human terms or by human achievements or by his relationship to others. David describes himself by his relationship with the Lord God of Israel.

>What is an oracle?

* "oracle" -Oracles are Communications from God. The term refers both to divine responses to a question asked of God and to pronouncements made by God without His being asked. In one sense, oracles were prophecies since they often referred to the future; but oracles sometimes dealt with decisions to be made in the present. Usually, in the Bible the communication was from Yahweh, the God of Israel. In times of idol worship, however, Israelites did seek a word or pronouncement from false gods (Hos. 4:12). Many of Israel's neighbors sought oracles from their gods. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* Concordance study shows the following meaning and use of oracle.” Sometimes oracle refers to the whole of a prophetic book (Mal. 1:1 NRSV) or a major portion of one (Hab. 1:1 NRSV). In Isaiah, several smaller prophecies of judgment or punishment are called “oracles” (13:1 NRSV; 14:28 NRSV). The NRSV also entitles Zechariah 9 and 12 “An Oracle.” Specific sayings about God's judgment on Joram (2 Kings 9:25 NRSV) and Joash (2 Chron. 24:27 NRSV) are also called oracles. Other examples, although the word oracle is not used, include Elijah's word to Ahab (1 Kings 21:17-19) and Elisha's word to Jehoram (2 Kings 3:13-20). On the basis of these kinds of usages, many Bible students understand oracles to be divine words of punishment or judgment. However, Balaam's oracle (Num. 24:3-9) is a blessing. Also references to Ahithophel'’s counsel (2 Sam. 16:23) and to oracles in Jerusalem which were pleasing but false (Lam. 2:14) show us that prophetic pronouncements were not always negative. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

>What is the source of David's oracle?

* 2 Samuel 23:2-3a "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me:"

* "The Spirit of the LORD" -The Holy Spirit did not descend on many people pre-Pentecost days. Some kings, prophets, judges, and delivers were given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came on David when he was anointed king of Israel. The Holy Spirit remained with David, though like many today, David was not always full of the Holy Spirit and thus sinned.

* "spoke through me" -The word of God comes through men by means of the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21 states, "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

* "his word was on my tongue" -David spoke and then wrote down what he spoke when the word of God came to him. Jesus also told us to preach the gospel. This is possible for all of those who confess the name of Jesus and believe that he is God, came in the flesh, died for our redemption, and rose from the dead.

* "the God of Israel" -Not that God is only the God of Israel, but that because of the partrichs faith he became their God out of all the nations. (Gen. 17:7-8; Ex. 6:7) Because of sin the Lord punished them and his word grew silent until the promised Messiah, Jesus came. John the Baptist said, "when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.'" (Matt. 3:7-10)

* "the Rock of Israel" -Jesus is the Lord God, the Rock of Israel, the God of David as pointed out in the previous study.

>What two things are important for leaders? (3b)

* 2 Samuel 23:3b "When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God,"

* "one rules over" -Israel's kings were not to rule like other nations. Their rule was a theocracy.

* "in righteousness" -A ruler must live in a way that is pleasing to God. God's word tells us how to live.

* "in the fear of God" -The fear of the Lord is good; in fact he asks his people to walk in the fear of the Lord. (10:12) The fear of God is knowing that God is in total control and watches whatever we do, say, think, and our motives. He will judge his people not for salvation, but for a reward in the coming physical kingdom of God. In this age, as it was in David's age if his people do not go the Lord's way, then the Lord sends the consequences of the sin that cannot be avoided unless God is merciful. (Duet. 9:19) The consequences come as a teaching method. David experienced this in his life as the study of 2 Samuel has shown.

* Leviticus 25:17 "Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God."

>What is it like?

* 2 Samuel 23:4 "he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.'"

* "light in the morning at sunrise" -Saul's reign was like living in darkness. Saul did not call on the name of the Lord. He disobeyed God and would not repent when his sin was brought out into the open. David's obeyed God and lived to please God. He wanted to fulfill God's purpose. Though David was not perfect his reign was like living in the light. The word of God is also referred to light, revealing the truth so that we can grow in the image of the Son of God. Jesus' physical reign is coming very soon. Before his reign will be the reign of the Antichrist. As the apostle said there are many antichrists already in the world and the number his increasing. We are living in times of darkness; yet soon Jesus will come and set up his earthly kingdom.

* "brings grass from the earth" -When Jesus comes again the earth will be renewed. The curse will remain. Yet many deserts will turn green. Life will spring up all over the earth when Jesus comes again.

* John 3:19-21 "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

* John 8:12 "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

* John 9:5 "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

* John 12:35-36 "Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them."

Old Testament Covenants

>2. What covenant did God make with David? (5a; 2 Sam. 7:8-16)

* 2 Samuel 23:5a "Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part?"

* 2 Samuel 7:8-16 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. "'The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"

* Jesus, the Messiah, the physical son of David is the fulfillment of the everlasting covenant that the Lord made with David. ()

* Matthew 22:41-45 "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied. He said to them, "How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him 'Lord'? For he says, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' If then David calls him 'Lord,' how can he be his son?"

* Luke 23:3 "So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied."

>What truth did he accept in regard to its fulfilment? (5b)

* 2 Samuel 23:5b "Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?"

* "bring to fruition my salvation" -David was nearing the end of his life on this earth. He knew that the everlasting covenant that he gave his regarded the salvation that he had not yet received. He knew that he was forgiven his many sins. Yet, he looked foreword to salvation from mankind's enemy since the beginning. That enemy includes the evil spirits lead by Satan, the sinful nature, and death. Jesus will soon come and reign. "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:25-26)

* "(John the Baptist's) father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us-- to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days." (Luke 1:67-75)

* "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is "'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone'. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:8-12)

* "grant me my every desire" -David did not want evil desires of the flesh. He desired spiritual things.

* Psalm 40:8 "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

* 7:12-16 contains Nathan's prophecy to David, from which comes these statements.

* Jesus went about proclaiming at the start of his public ministry, "The kingdom of God is here" and "near you".

>How are evil men different? (6-7)

* 2 Samuel 23:6-7 "But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand. Whoever touches thorns uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear; they are burned up where they lie."

* "like thorns" -People get rid of thorns. They sap nutrition which should be used to produce fruit. Jesus said in many parables that when he comes at the soon to happen harvest the fruit will be separated from the chap and the thorns.

* "not gathered with the hand" -God does not touch everyone. Some have had no part with him. These are the people who will be burned up.

* "burned up" -Hell is described as a place "where the fire does not go out" (Matt. 5:22; Heb. 6:8)

>3. Who was the chief of the three and why?

* 2 Samuel 23:8 "These are the names of David's mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter."

* "David's mighty men" -David had with him starting during his exile from the spear of Saul, a group of men who were eventually called his mighty men.

* "Josheb-Basshebeth" -His name is also translated Jashobeam which means, the uncle (or people) will return.” He was a warrior of Saul's tribe of Benjamin who supported David at Ziklag as he fled from Saul (1 Chron. 12:6). Some interpreters would say the text listed him as a Hachmonite, while others would see “a Hachmonite” as reference to a different individual. The last part of his name (only listed here) represents the Hebrew word for shame (translated "dweller of shame"), at times used by scribes instead of an original name containing the Canaanite god’s name Baal, leading some interpreters to see the original name here as Yishbaal. Some Greek manuscripts actually read Ishbaal. (Holman Bible Dictionary)

* "Tahkemonite" -A word only found here and in 1 Chron. 11:11.

* "whom he killed in one encounter" -Josheb-Basshebeth killed these men in battle, unlike Joab who also killed men outside of battle.

* David did not work alone. He was not a lone preacher. Even John the Baptist was not a lone preacher, but he had his disciples too. The battle of the Lord is fought by an army working together under one head, Jesus the Messiah.

* 1 Chron. 11:11-41 contains the names in this list plus 16 more names.

>Who was the second of the three and why?

* 2 Samuel 23:9-10 "Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered [at Pas Dammim] for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated, but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The LORD brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead."

* "Ahohite" -A clan within Israel. Solomon also included Ahohites in his military. (1 Chron. 8:4; 11:12,29; 27:4)

* "Pas Dammim" -Place name meaning, boundary of blood.” Scene of David's victory over the Philistines (1 Chron. 11:13). The site is probably between Socoh and Azekah, the same as Ephes-dammin (1 Sam. 17:1).

* "he stood his ground" -He did not follow others, but remain faithful to what he knew was true. Paul encourages us to "fight the good fight". (1 Tim. 6:12)

* "froze to the sword" -When the hand and wrist are overworked they refuse to move. I have experienced this several times while working of building construction work.

* "great victory that day" -All the Lord looks for is at least one to stand in faith for him to produce a victory for his people.

>Who was the third and why?

* 2 Samuel 23:11-17 "Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel's troops fled from them. But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the LORD brought about a great victory. During harvest time, three of the thirty chief men came down to David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, "Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!" So the three mighty men broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD. "Far be it from me, O LORD, to do this!" he said. "Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?" And David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men."

* "Hararite" -Harar can either be a town, a region, a tribe, or a general reference to mountain country.

* "lentils" -A plat native to south-west Asia and Palestine.

* The loyalty to David and faith in the Lord's protection is seen in the fact that they risked their life to get the water from Bethlehem.

* The three all stood their ground when everyone else fled. Jesus has prepared a similar list which includes those who were not ashamed of him while on this world in this life.

* "harvest time" -Its highly possible that this happened after David had fled from Saul, when men first began to gather to his cause (1 Sam. 22:1-4), or shortly after his conquest of Jerusalem (2 Sam. 5:17-18).

* "thirty mighty men" -The list contains more names than thirty because as men were replaced or left the service other mighty men replaced them.

>Who was the three's commander and why? (18-19)

* 2 Samuel 23:18-19 "Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the Three. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the Three. Was he not held in greater honor than the Three? He became their commander, even though he was not included among them."

* "Joab" -Joab is not listed in David's mighty men although he was the commander of the army for many years. Some say that is why he is not listed here. I believe he is not listed because he committed murder and other violent acts to maintain his leadership.

* "Abishai the brother of Joab" -Joab did not follow the bad practices of Joab. (10:10,14; 18:2)

* "he became their commander" -The three had greater honor because of their faithfulness. Yet, they had a leader who was faithful too, yet not as faithful as successful.

>What trait do these men have in common? (1 Tim. 1:18-19, 6:11-16)

* 1 Timothy 1:18-19 "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith."

* 1 Timothy 6:11-16 "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen."

* faithfulness

* brave

* honest and true

* high numbers

* Those who have higher numbers were given higher places of honor and authority in David's kingdom. David, a true leader recognized the work of Israel's leaders was to advance the kingdom. The warriors who the Lord enabled to be more effective were rewarded more those with lesser numbers. Jesus' kingdom is the same. The preaching and teaching of the word of God advances the kingdom of God in the hearts of men. Paul calls the word a spiritual warriors sword. Jesus will reward and honor according to numbers of people converted and taught with the use of the word of God. Those who used the gifts given them to advance to good news of the kingdom of God will be rewarded by the numbers converted. Any leader who lives before the day the Lord honors in this way should follow this example. Any leader who does not recognize and honor those who preaches and teaches the gospel more than others, but instead recognizes and honors based on human opinion and appearance is not fit to be a leader and will be humbled on the day the Lord returns.

David Pours Out Water

* The engraving to the right is by Matthias Scheits (1630-1700). It depicts David pouring out the water that three of his soldiers drew from the well near the gate of Bethlehm. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>Why did David pour out the gift they brought him?

* Bethlehem was the hometown of David. His family had to leave it when Saul was seeking David's life. Being vacant, the Philistines took it over for awhile showing the weakness of Israel during Saul's reign. David ask for the water of Bethlehem referring to his youth a time of peace, stability, and strength. Yet more than that he prophesied the "living water" Jesus being born in Bethlehem.

* David did not drink the water because he did not want others to follow this kind of self sacrifice for his personal needs. He is different than many modern religious leaders who all but demand sacrificial giving while they themselves live in comfort.

* David knew that only the Lord is worthy of such sacrifice.

>4. HOw could a man become in charge of David's body guard? (20-23)

* 2 Samuel 23:20-23 "Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab's best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian's hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men. He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard."

* "Kabzeel" -A southern town in the Judah's Negev region. (Jos. 15:21)

* Like the three he had faith, courage and fought for the Lord's people

* "Benaiah son of Jehoiada" -Commander of the Kerethites and Pelethites, Philistines following David (8:18; 20:23) and of the division of troops for the third month of the year (1 Chron. 27:5). He supported Solomon's succession to the throne (1 Kings 1-2) and eventually replaced Joab as commander of the army (1 Kings 2:35).

>What does the fact the thirty existed tell us about David's leadership? (24-39)

* 2 Samuel 23:24-39 "Among the Thirty were: Asahel the brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo from Bethlehem, Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite, Helez the Paltite, Ira son of Ikkesh from Tekoa, Abiezer from Anathoth, Mebunnai the Hushathite, Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite, Heled son of Baanah the Netophathite, Ithai son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin, Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai from the ravines of Gaash, Abi-Albon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, the sons of Jashen, Jonathan son of Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sharar the Hararite, Eliphelet son of Ahasbai the Maacathite, Eliam son of Ahithophel the Gilonite, Hezro the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite, Igal son of Nathan from Zobah, the son of Hagri, Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah, Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite and Uriah the Hittite. There were thirty-seven in all."

* The Lord's work is done by a army working together. Each do their part and will be reward for doing what is required of them. No one person should claim themselves great. Rather, only Jesus can call a person great. 1 Timothy 5:17-18 states, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."

* Romans 2:6-11 "God 'will give to each person according to what he has done.' To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism."

* David's mighty men were from different backgrounds. Some were not even Israelites. Only a good leader can hold such different people together. Dwight Eisenhower was the commander of the Allied Espeditionary Force during WWII not because he was the best general, but because he was best suited one to pull and hold together more capable generals from different countries and background. George Washington was unanimously promoted to be the first U.S. president because of the same reasons. "Great men do not seek leadership, it is forced upon them by their peers."

* "Eliam" -Father of Bathsheba and son of David's counselor Ahithophel, who jointed in Absalom's conspiracy. (15:12,31,34; 16:20-23; 17:1-23)

* "Uriah" -Husband of Bathsheba.

II. I am the One Who Has Sinned (24:1-17)

God Counts His Army

* The engraving to the right is by Martin Luther (1483-1546). It depicts David sending Joab to count Israel's army. In the background are men of Israel holding battle armanets. David while gestering to the fighting men is ordering the army commander Joab who has a sword. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>5. In anger what did the Lord tell David to do?

* 2 Samuel 24:1 "Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."

* "Again" -From the exodus to David's reign whenever Israel sinned, the anger of the LORD burned against Israel. His anger is good because it leads to repentance and maturity of his people. In David's time there was also a famine. (21:1)

* "the anger of the LORD" -We are not told why the anger burned against Israel not David. There is a possibility it was because of the widespread support of Absalom and then Sheba over David, the anointed king by the command of the LORD. Israel's kings were to serve to death.

* "he incited David against them" -The Lord permitted Satan to do this; Satan being the means of the punishment. The Lord did not hold back Satan from doing this. 1 Chron. 21:1 says, "Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel." Man and Satan's actions are under God's sovereign control. (Ex. 4:21, 7:3, 9:12, 10:1,20,27, 11:10, 14:4; Jos. 11:20; and 1 Kings 22:22-23; Job 1:12; 2:10; Exe. 3:20; 14:9; Acts 4:28)

* Paul states the principle of Satan being a messenger and permitted by the Lord God in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

* "saying" -A false prophet must have been the means for this communication.

* "a census" -A census is not evil. (Num. 1:2-3; 26:2-4) This one was based in pride and dependants on men instead of God.

* "Israel and Judah" -Judah is one of the tribes of Israel and yet they are seperated from the other eleven because they became a seperate nation when Solomon died.

* God's way of working is often mysterious. The outcome of this event was that the land that David bought to offer the sacrifice became the place where the temple was built, the very land that Abraham was about to offer Isaac as a sacrifice out of obedience and faith. Since all of Israel would know of the judgement and the sacrifice no one can say that the land was purchased incorrectly.

* With that just being said, it can be seen that in some ways this event is prophetic. In order to stop the retribution of the Lord because of the sins of Israel and it's leaders a sacrifice will be offered on Mt. Moriah, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. The sin in both events was pride and self reliance instead of relying on the Lord.

* 1 Chronicles 21 also records David counting the men able to fight.

David ordered Joab, Israel's army commander to count the mighty men. Joab knew this was wrong. He knew it was the Lord who gives armies strength (3). The Lord enables small armies to defeat large armies. David needed to examine why he wanted to count the number of fighting men (3).

David was either worried or proud. These are self-centered and destructive. Both are motivations outside of love for God and trust in God.

Relying on self is always eventually self-defeating. Having confidence in abilities and opportunities while acknowledging that the Lord gives them is not the same as independent self-confidence. Am I proud of myself or grateful to God?

Worry is related to self-confidence. The two work together like coffee stains on wood. Worry is eventually self-defeating. I trust in God don't I? Then why do I worry and fret? Why do I worry about the clothes that I will wear? Why do I worry about the food that I will eat? Why do I worry about the bills that need to be paid? Why do I count?

Jesus taught, "Seek first the kingdom of God and all these will be given to you as well." Jesus is the king, not me.

>How did David respond?

* 2 Samuel 24:2 "So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are."

* "Joab" -Joab was a ruthless commander whose loyalty to David was unchanging though he did all he could to do things his way even at times over David's command.

* "enroll the fighting men" -The root of the problem was trusting and having pride in the number of men at his disposal.

* "how many there are" -Knowing the number of enemies slain to advance the kingdom was right. Knowing the number of men to advance the kingdom was wrong for it did not trust in the Lord who fought and won all the battles.

>What did Joab remind David?

* 2 Samuel 24:3 "But Joab replied to the king, "May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?"

* "May the Lord your God" -Joab reminded David of the Lord whom David called his God. Joab, though did not say "our" God.

* "multiply the troops a hundred times over" -Joab reminded David that the Lord is in control. The Lord can raise up troops anytime he wanted to. The Lord didn't even need any troops. In fact as the previous chapter shows the Lord often used one man of faith the win great victories. David himself had been used this way when he was used as a lad to slay the giant Goliath.

* "Why" -We should also seek and accept the reason why we do things. The Lord knows the motivations of the heart and this will be exposed when we stand before the Lord. Luke 12:1b-3 records Jesus telling the disciples, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs."

* David was told by Joab what was right. David had no excuse. Joab did wrong things, but at times he was the only one able to speak out and question the motives of the king. Every leader needs a bold man like Joab. Though Joab did wrong things he had his good qualities and uses.

* David did not answer Joab's question, thus showing his guilt.

>What did they concede to do? (4)

* 2 Samuel 24:4 "The king's word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel."

* "The king's word" -Sometimes our leaders give direction that harms many. A leader must therefore be very careful to follow the ways of the Lord.

* Those who followed the bad advice of David was just as guilty as David. Joab was the only one who was not guilty for he spoke up against the king.

* "so they left" -After the direction was given Joab followed the direction even though he knew the motives were wrong. Joab also had known the motives behind the death of Uriah, yet he obeyed what he knew was wrong and later saw David suffer for it. That may have been the reason why Joab spoke up here.

>What might we learn here? (Zech. 4:6)

* Zechariah 4:6 "So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty."

* The Lord does all and does not need any man to do his will.

* 2 Samuel 21 does not include the number of fighting men Joab had counted. That fact is only in 1 Chronicles 21.

>6. Follow their journey on a map. (5-9)

* 2 Samuel 24:5-9 "After crossing the Jordan, they camped near Aroer, south of the town in the gorge, and then went through Gad and on to Jazer. They went to Gilead and the region of Tahtim Hodshi, and on to Dan Jaan and around toward Sidon. Then they went toward the fortress of Tyre and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went on to Beersheba in the Negev of Judah. After they had gone through the entire land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to the king: In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand."

* "Aroer" -Three cities went by this name. This one was on north rim of Arnon Gorge east of Dead Sea on southern boundary of territory Israel claimed east of the Jordan River. (Deut. 2:36; Josh. 13:9) The south eastern border of Israel was against Moab. The Arnon River marked the border. This the territory of the tribe of Reuben.

* "Gad" -To the north of Reuben.

* "Tahtim Hodshi" -Tahtim Hodshi in north east Israel is only mentioned here. Kadesh in the land of the Hittites and the land below Hermon.

* "Dan" -North central Israel in the time of Saul, David, and Solomon.

* "the fortress of Tyre" -Tyre was on the Mediterranean Sea. Tyre and Sidon, a sister city to the north were suppose to be the north west border of Israel. They were never conquered by Israel.

* "Beersheba in the Negev of Judah" -Beersheba was in the south west corner of Israel in David's time.

>What happened to David when he got the count?

* 2 Samuel 24:10 "David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing."

* "conscience-stricken" -David knew that he had done wrong even when Joab had questioned his motives. Now, the deed was done. The conscience is that which knows good from bad. The righteous are condemned by the conscience. The ungodly suppress and justify the conscience until their hearts become hard.

* "he said to the Lord" -David prayed. When we realize that we had done wrong we need to tell the Lord of our sins.

* 1 Chronicles 21:9-17 also records that the Lord gave David the choice of three punishments for counting the men able to fight.

Actions have consiquenses. Trust, humility, and obedience will bring blessing. Doubt, pride, and rebellion will bring punishment. This is the clear message of the Chronicler(s). Is this true? It is true only for believers in Jesus, or rather those who have made a decision to live by faith in Christ.

Why are the principles of punishment and reward so fundamentally true and important? The declaration of the Lord to Israel at Mount Ebal when they entered the promised land and this chapter validates these basic principles are true (Deut. 27). They are not only in the Old Testament. Jesus' parables also validated the principles. The fact that Jesus and the apostles taught that when he comes again he will send out his angels to separate the lambs (the faithful) and the goats (the rebellious).

Maybe the only reason that the principles of faithful trust and obedience bring reward and faithless doubt and rebellion bring punishment for those who have decided to live according to Jesus' teachings is because the sinful nature will wage war in the soul of God's children until the day we are transformed at his second coming.

The fact that I have a choice to do what is good and right or not is helped by the understanding and acceptance of these two principles. The fear of the Lord for the believer is the beginning of wisdom, fear of the consequences of making the wrong choice. There are consequences. This is as sure as the truth that as long as the world spins gravity will continually pull my body to its center. Someday the gravity of punishment-reward will not be needed for I will be given the ability to fly. Until then I will learn to walk in the Lord.

>Who did the Lord send to David?

* 2 Samuel 24:11-12 "Before David got up the next morning, the word of the LORD had come to Gad the prophet, David's seer: "Go and tell David, 'This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.'"

* "Gad the prophet" -Gad is first mentioned in 1 Samuel 22:5. Here Gad is refereed to as "David's seer". That the Lord had given kings personal prophets (seers) is a new development in the time of kings.

* "the word of the Lord" -During the time of judges the word of God came directly to the judges. During the time of kings, the word of God came either through prophets or priests.

* "three options" -David would thus be the instrument. His character is about to be revealed by his choice. The fact there there was a choice and that that choice was enacted shows that this was indeed the Lord's punishment.

God Smites Israel with a Deadly Plauge

* The engraving to the right is by Edel, Josef Samule. It depicts when an angel appears to David and the elders, they bow in worship. In the background 70,000 men of Israel die from a plauge. God is represented by the Tetragrammation. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.

>What three options did David have?

* 2 Samuel 24:13 "So Gad went to David and said to him, "Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me."

* "three" -The shorter the period the stronger the punishment.

* Sometimes in life we are given choices that none is pleasant.

>What does David's choice tell us?

* 2 Samuel 24:14 "David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men."

* "into the hands of the Lord" -David had learned to trust in the mercy of God.

* "into the hands of men" -David did not want to engage in a cat and mouse game with men as he did with Saul. He did not want to live in tents. He did not trust men over the Lord.

* God in his anger is more merciful than man let loose in the rampages of war. (Psalms 30:5)

>7. Was the Lord merciful as David said? (15-16)

* 2 Samuel 24:15-16 "So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, "Enough! Withdraw your hand." The angel of the LORD was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."

* "the angle" -Angles are elsewhere agents of God's wrath. (i.e. Sodom and Gomorrah)

* Jerusalem was spared because of the mercy of the Lord. The judgement against all of Israel was not completely carried out.

* "standing at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite." -Araunah was threshing wheat as the king approached, information not found here nor verse 20. However, Josephus and the fragmentary text of Samuel from the dead sea scroll found at Qumran both mention this information.

>What did David do for his people?

* 2 Samuel 24:17 "When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, "I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall upon me and my family."

* "David saw the angel" -The angel was visible. Angels are not always visible and sometimes they appear as men as with the angles who visited Abraham before Sodom's destruction.

* "I am the one who sinned" -David confessed his sin. He offered his family in place of Israel.

>How is this a change of heart for David?

* "These are but sheep" -David accepted that they followed his order. He knew he was the shepherd, as all leaders of Israel were. (5:2, 7:7)

* David was willing to sacrifice himself so that Jerusalem could be spared.

Plague of Jerusalem

* See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right depicting the plague of Jerusalem. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.

III. David Builds an Altar (24:18-26)

>8. What did the Lord tell David to do?

* 2 Samuel 24:18 "On that day Gad went to David and said to him, "Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite."

* "threshing floor" -A large flat stone where wheat was beat against to knock the kernel off the chaff.

* "Jebusite" -Jebusite were people who occupied Jerusalem before David conquered the city.

>How did David respond?

* 2 Samuel 24:19 "So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad."

* David obeyed.

>9. What could David have done with so many men with him?

* 2 Samuel 24:20 "When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground."

* David could have forced the Gentile, the people David conquered to turn the land over to him.

>What does the fact that he proposed to by the land say about him?

* 2 Samuel 24:21 "Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" "To buy your threshing floor," David answered, "so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped."

* David did not want the sacrifice to be tainted by stealing the land. The future sight of the temple mount was purchased legally. The family of David owned the land where all the temples were built.

>10. What did Araunah propose?

* 2 Samuel 24:22-23 "Araunah said to David, "Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. O king, Araunah gives all this to the king." Araunah also said to him, "May the LORD your God accept you."

* Araunah was being gracious out of fear and a public show of support for David. He even offered to give David the oxen and the wood.

>What did David say was the reason he paid Araunah?

* 2 Samuel 24:24 "But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them."

* David was tempted to offer a sacrifice given to Israel by a Gentile. However, David bought the land, oxen, and wood so that the offering came from the house of Judah. Jesus, the final sacrifice also came from the Jews.

>How did the Lord respond to David's sacrifice?

* 2 Samuel 24:25 "David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped."

* A sacrifice is only a sacrifice when it costs the one giving the sacrifice. A sacrifice should never be given at someone else's loss.

>What can we learn from him? (Ex. 23:15b; Luke 19:20-27)

* Exodus 23:15b "No one is to appear before me empty-handed."

* Luke 19:20-27 "Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.' "His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' "Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.' "'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!' "He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.'"

* The body of the follower of Jesus is a living sacrifice. (Rom. 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5)


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